News & Media

Harvick proves a reluctant favorite at Talladega

October 22, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- If Kevin Harvick is optimistic -- even cautiously optimistic -- about his chances of pulling away from the rest of the Chase for the Sprint Cup field at Talladega Superspeedway, he's reluctant to say so.

"We don't need motivation. We have enough motivation sitting on the shelf in Las Vegas with that [championship] trophy."


The statistics suggest that Harvick, who has a win, a second and a fifth in his three most recent Talladega starts, has a chance to gain ground in Sunday's Good Sam Club 500 on series points leader Carl Edwards and third-place Matt Kenseth at a track that, historically, hasn't been kind to the Roush Fenway Racing drivers.

Forget the statistics, says Harvick, who is second in points, five behind Edwards and two ahead of Kenseth.

"I think anybody has that opportunity this week," Harvick said coyly. "I think anyone can have a good week. I remember the 99 [Edwards] and the 16 [Greg Biffle] being alongside my door at the finish of the last race.

"It is kind of a crapshoot, and you have to do everything you can to control and do what you think is best for yourself and your car and try not to make any mistakes on pit road. Just have a good plan. Hopefully, we have got all that going for us this week and see how it plays out."

Asked specifically whether he thought he could gain on Edwards, Harvick again demurred.

"I don't think any of the previous stats matter at any race track," Harvick said, in a radical departure from conventional wisdom. "I think we are all capable of winning at any particular race track. We have had success here, but like I said, in the last race here he [Edwards] had a good day and did what he had to do.

"We're not worried about anybody else. We are worried about ourselves, don't care what anyone else's record is or whether it's good or bad. We just want to control what we can control and not draw anything else around us to pull us down. We don't need motivation. We have enough motivation sitting on the shelf in Las Vegas with that [championship] trophy. That's our motivation. We don't need stats ... and we don't care about the people around us [in the standings] right now."

Though Harvick may be loathe to embrace a favorite's role at Talladega, odds are you'll find him near the front of the field at the finish -- where he expects to be.